Simplifying tariff concessions


The Federal Government is planning to cut red tape for Australian businesses that import goods.

Proposed changes to the Customs Tariff Act would result in a simplified tariff concessions system, said Minister for Innovation and Industry Senator Kim Carr.

Schedule 4 of the Customs Tariff Act 1995 provides a wide range of tariff concessions, which have the effect of reducing or removing the normal rate of customs duty that would otherwise apply. 

These concessions lower costs for businesses importing goods, but trying to find the right concession can be a lengthy and complex process.

Last year the Federal Government began public discussions on the rationalisation of the tariff concession regime as part of a comprehensive agenda to reduce the level of unnecessary or poorly designed regulation and deliver better outcomes for business. 

The consultation process showed that stakeholders, especially business, support a more user-friendly tariff concession regime, including the removal of redundant items.

The Minister Assisting on Deregulation, Senator Nick Sherry Senator Sherry said the reforms would deliver significant savings to Australian businesses while maintaining the benefits of current arrangements.

Senator Carr said: “The reforms will remove unnecessary complexity and obsolete provisions, relieving the current burden on Australian businesses.

“Specifically, the reforms will reduce the existing tariff concession schedule to about half the current number of items and improve the clarity and usability of Schedule 4 for business.”

The improvements to Schedule 4 include:

  • Removing items, which are either redundant or used rarely
  • Consolidating, where possible, those items that have similar coverage and explaining them more clearly (this will not impact the level of concession provided to affected goods)
  • Reviewing and removing obsolete by-laws that list goods under certain items in Schedule 4; and
  • Placing similar items together in the structure of a revised Schedule.

Customs and Border Protection will release exposure draft legislation for public consultation before the end of the year.

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